Inks in Art Journaling

On my way home from JournalFest, I flew over the mountains North and East of Phoenix. For a moment, I thought I could see large petroglyph, or sand carving.

A new road being scraped into a mountainside. Taken through an airplane window.

It was neither. It was the beginning of a road, scraped into the earth, against a mountain. I looked at the wrinkles and color, as if ink had been applied on a paper bag, then scrunched up. Inks. . .so interesting. They can work like watercolors or dyes. They are so much more than just fluid to write with.

This weekend, I spent some time working with inks in the studio. Found some interesting techniques with ink. Here’s a wash done with ink:

Ink wash on watercolor paper

Once the wash is dry, you can continue to work on it. Below, I sprayed the wash and dropped ink on it, for a double-layer effect:

Ink on watercolor paper.

It would make a good background for a journal page. Here’s one I did in a different color, then wrote on it with Pitt pens and watercolor pencils.

Pitt pen and watercolor pencil on inked watercolor paper.

My favorite discovery was that some inks won’t bleed when re-wet, and you can add several different colors in layers:

The one above is done in browns and orange and indigo. I see seedheads and flowers in it, but that’s for later. Below is one done in Payne’s gray, black and orange.

Ink on watercolor paper.

Inks are also effective on black paper. Of course, irridescents work best for black paper.

Shimmer black and gold ink on Strathmore's Artagain black paper.

Taken one step further, you can use the inks to create figurative work. Here’s the first step:

And here is the same image re-imagined into a stormy wind cloud behind a tree scene, sort of Grimm-fairy tale-ish,  where someone just vanished.

"He Was Never Seen Again" Ink, watercolor pencil on watercolor paper.

It’s a wonderful medium, with both deep and pale color, and the opportunity to use washes as well as splashes of ink. There will certainly be more.

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling. She is spending time making meaning in new ways.